THROWN OUT FOR WEARING A
OXFORD UNION DOES A WALTER
17 October 2005
Twenty-five protestors from
Survival International were bundled out of the Oxford Union by burly security
guards on Friday for 'wearing offensive t-shirts' and 'asking offensive
questions.' All were members of the Union or their guests.
Botswana's President Mogae had
been invited to give a promotional talk to the Union about the state of
democracy in his country, but was met at every turn by students and others
protesting at Botswana's persecution of peaceful Kalahari Bushmen, who have
been thrown off their ancestral land.
Three Bushmen, including a child,
have been shot in recent weeks, and all their leaders have been arrested,
imprisoned and charged with 'unlawful assembly'. All the Oxford protestors
wore t-shirts reading 'Botswana police shoot Bushmen'.
President Mogae was greeted by
protestors as he entered and left the Union building shouting 'Why are you
persecuting the Bushmen?' and 'Let the Bushmen go home'. He gave no reply
other than a two-fingered salute.
He was also questioned inside the
Union chamber, but some of the members questioning him were also forced to
Survival's Director Stephen Corry,
who was one of those expelled, said today, 'The Oxford Union says that its
guiding principles are 'diversity and outspokeness', and the 'free exchange of
ideas'. Instead, it seems to have learnt a few lessons from the Botswana
authorities, who routinely expel anyone who dares to challenge them.'
Another protestor, a refugee from
Chile, said, 'The behaviour of the Union officials reminded me of General
Pinochet's henchmen back home.'
SURVIVAL INTERNATIONAL PRESS
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